I read, I write, and I majored in German and Muggle Studies. my favorite genres are historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. Lookout for reviews of the YA and MG persuasions!
Highschooler Prenna doesn’t really belong in the United States. She is American, only she is actually from the relatively near and terrifying future ravaged by an unstoppable mosquito-borne plague. Prenna and her fellow time-travelers are tasked with colonizing the past, and must adhere to strict, but necessary rules as a result, or risk altering history itself.
Unfortunately after the first 100 pages, I grew to understand that I must have somehow fallen for a bait-and-switch. I have not read any of Ann Brashares’ other books, so I was not let down in that regard. In this case it was the story and plot that fell apart, and the flat characters sealed the coffin.
The idea of humans re-colonizing the past was intriguing. Just thinking about the politics surrounding that decision and the plot opportunities ignited my imagination, but nothing really ever came of my hopes. Nothing materialized to say "here is a plot twist or development that harkens back to the amazing summary!" I couldn't even fall in love with any of the characters. It seemed like most were strange, weak echoes of characters that could have been much more complex and real.
By the time I reached the 3/4 point in the book, I had already stopped trying to figure out if any of it made any real sense. Like, why was Prenna's mother so strangely distant from a daughter she should have been happy to have, and treasure, given her previous experiences? Why was she even in love with Ethan? How could all of these seemingly intelligent people from the near-future not suspect the technology and excuses made by their morally weak rulers?
It grew to be far, far too much. The climax wasn't exciting or fulfilling--neither was the ending, because I could not care less about the characters.
For most of the book I was aching for the author to push somehow deeper. It was as if she were exploring for herself just what she wanted this book to actually be about. It boiled down to something so simplified I almost didn't finish.
I'm a sucker for high-concept, though. Hence the two-star rating. This could have been phenomenal, and I really wanted it to be. Readers who want to ease into another form of speculative fiction aside from the popular dystopian reads might want to give this a try, and readers who also favor romance as a pivotal factor in a book would probably enjoy it more as well.
*note: I received an e-copy of this book from Random House Children’s/Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback.